What Google's Local Search Updates Mean for Your Business’s Online Presence

In this blog, we’re exploring the latest updates to Google’s local search algorithm and how you can optimize your business’s listing to stay competitive.

Local Search Updates for Your Business

Optimizing your business’s local search marketing strategies is paramount for a successful online presence. Search engines like Google routinely update their algorithms to value different content, which means businesses need to stay in the know about what performs online and what doesn’t. 

In this blog, we’re exploring the latest updates to Google’s local search algorithm and how you can optimize your business’s listing to stay competitive

First, here’s a quick refresher on what local SEO is and its importance.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO, or local search engine optimization, is the set of digital marketing strategies that help your business rank in local searches.

Local searches are typically thought of as “near me” searches. For example, if a user searches “Thai restaurants near me” into a search engine, the search engine will serve businesses that are a short distance from your location or local to you. The first 3-5 search results are known as the Local Pack or Local Map Pack and are typically accompanied by a map view of the business’s location.

Every search engine uses specific criteria to rank businesses in their local search results. While Google is the largest search engine, it routinely verifies its information on businesses against those listed on other search engines. It’s important that your business’s information is always correct and updated on all search engines.

This ranking space is highly valuable, so we’re sharing the local search engine optimization updates that just hit Google so your business can remain relevant and rank in the Local Pack.

1. Traditional Local Search Ranking Factors Remain Unchanged

The tried and true local search marketing optimizations aren’t going anywhere and remain foundational to ranking in Google’s results 

The acronym EEAT can help you remember the goal of keeping your business’s listing up to date with Google’s algorithm changes:

E - Experience

E - Expertise

A - Authority 

T - Trust

Whenever any search engine algorithm scans your business’s listing and content, it is looking to verify that your business has first-hand experience with what the user is searching for, has specific expertise in their query, is an authority in the space they are interested in, and is a trustworthy source.

Here’s a list of all the basic information your business’s listing should have current at all times:  

  • Location/Business address (if applicable)
  • Business name
  • Business phone number and contact information
  • Business website
  • Your business’s listing needs to be claimed by someone within your organization
  • New reviews and responses to reviews
  • A localized landing page or microsite for specific inquiries or FAQs
  • Photos
  • Hours
  • Business category
  • Payment information
  • A complete profile

When creating and editing your business’s search engine listing, fill out as much information as possible. Google gives preference to businesses who have complete profiles that match the user’s search query best. 

Updating your business’s photos, postings, website, and landing page content and responding to reviews can be time-consuming. Outsourcing these tedious local search marketing tasks to a trusted local SEO company gives you valuable time back and ensures your business remains competitive on every search engine. RevLocal specializes in local search marketing. Read more about how we can help here

2. New Emphasis on the Q&A Section

Google is emphasizing the photos and Q&A sections of business listings more than in the past. This means it’s important to always have a steady flow of pictures to post and check in on what kinds of questions users are asking your business.

Thoughtful responses to questions look great to the algorithm, and consistently posting answers will help your business rank! Reviewing and responding to questions will also offer your business valuable information on improving marketing or making specific information easier to find. Experimenting with AI or autofill response technology can help keep this task in check if you’re short on time to respond manually.

Generally, having 7-12 photos attached to your business’s Google listing is enough! Just ensure they are updated regularly and offer something to users researching your business.

3. Deprioritizing Google Posts

There is now less emphasis on the Google Posts attached to business listings. This is a big time-saver for many business owners! Google no longer offers reports on data from the posts, and we confirmed this by testing it ourselves. When our marketing experts stopped creating posts for business listings, they saw no dip in their search rankings. So, you can mark creating Google Posts off your list!

Those are the significant local search marketing changes on Google’s platform! Optimizing your business’s local search efforts around these new updates will ensure that your business continues to rank and offer real value to users.  

A note about Apple

It’s rumored that Apple could create their own search engine! They’ve launched Apple Business Connect, which bears a striking resemblance to Google’s local search map, business listings and other search engine tools. 

Read this article, to learn more about this new development and how your business can prepare.

Final Thoughts 

Keeping up with every local search marketing optimization can be difficult, and it’s important not to be afraid to ask for help! Reaching out to a trusted local SEO company may just take your business to the next level. RevLocal specializes in local search marketing for small businesses and multi-location brands. We also offer website services, review marketing, social media marketing, organic SEO marketing, marketing analytics and paid advertising.

To learn more about how we can help your business grow and thrive online, contact us for a free consultation!

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